EXCLUSIVE: OC Transpo driver 'abandons' passengers
City officials are investigating a bus driver who passengers say abandoned them, walking off the job Monday upon being asked why his bus was consistently late.
Henry McCambridge said it wasn't the first time the number 5 bus was late when he waited to take it home on Monday morning at the Mackenzie King station.
After arriving 40 minutes later than its scheduled time, McCambridge said he asked the bus driver why the bus was late again.
"I said ‘Can you tell me why you are always late?' and he said ‘I don't have to answer that question,'" McCambridge said. "I said ‘I'm just trying to find out what the problem is and how we can rectify it,' and he said ‘I don't want to answer your question.'"
McCambridge said he was fed up and turned to the other 15 passengers on the bus to tell them to write their city councillor.
"When I turned around, the bus driver was putting on his coat," he said. "He was walking out the door, the bus was still running, and he said to get another bus . . . he left it abandoned on the bridge."
The passengers said they waited five minutes before realizing the driver wasn't coming back and started to leave the bus.
It took four passengers to lift one rider in a wheelchair off the bus, since they couldn't lower the bus' ramp.
McCambridge said an OC Transpo supervisor arrived, and then the driver returned about 20 minutes later.
The two had a meeting on the empty bus and then the driver drove away alone.
He said the supervisor told him the driver had been relieved from his duties and was returning to the garage to be addressed by the management.
This incident came the same day a driver was fired for yelling at a disruptive passenger, an incident that sparked outrage after being posted to YouTube.
The city's transit union said it's told drivers to walk away if they're feeling stress from being confronted by passengers.
Tuesday, CTV Ottawa waited with McCambridge for Route 5 – it was 40 minutes late.
When asked, the driver replied that it was late every day because of scheduling.
McCambridge said it doesn't matter if drivers or management are to blame, he's just tired of riders being caught in the middle.
"It's deplorable," he said. "Maybe there are mixed feelings about the bus driver's union and the city, but we're not going to be held hostage."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem